Jaw Surgery Recovery-13 Weeks Later

Me in a restaurant 8 months after my first surgery. Although I'm thinner than I am now, I had a lot more swelling.

Me in a restaurant 8 months after my first surgery. Although I’m thinner here than I am now, I had a lot more swelling.

Me in the same restaurant only 11 weeks after my second surgery. Although I'm still heavier than the first photo, I think I look a lot more normal and have less swelling.

Me in the same restaurant only 11 weeks after my second surgery. Although I’m heavier than in the first photo, I think I look a lot more normal and have less swelling.

Hi everyone! So I don’t know if I actually have anyone who reads my blog enough to know I missed last week, but if I do, I apologize! I have been so busy trying to juggle school, student senate, and my health problems. However, I haven’t done an update on how I’ve actually been doing recovery-wise in a while. So without further ado…

Jaw Surgery Recovery – My jaw has been healing up pretty well. A piece of plastic broke while my jaw was wired shut which caused the top right section of my jaw not to move out completely. For a while they thought they were going to have to go back in to re-brake that portion of the jaw. However, braces and rubber bands have saved the day! Since my top jaw is actually still broken (I can feel it wiggle when I brush my teeth with my electric toothbrush), they were able to use braces on the back of some teeth and pull that bone out. Now all that’s left to fix is my cross bite and some teeth still aren’t touching in the back. My doctors assure me this can all be fixed with braces.

Medicine Update – I am slowly but surely getting off all of the medication. I was completely off my Fentanyl patches, but my pain doctor put me back on a 25 mcg/h patch. Although my doctor said it is impossible with the amount of Percocet I take, I still feel like I’m going through withdrawal. I have tremors and shaking that makes it very difficult to sleep. Apparently it is my subconscious freaking out about getting off of my meds. So instead of getting off the patch and then decreasing the Percocet, we are going to get off the Percocet and then the patch. I am down from nine Neurontin (Gabapentin) a day to four. I am still on Clonodine patches and pills to help with the withdrawals and anxiety. Overall, this is an amazing improvement! This is the least amount of medication I have taken in years.

Pain Update – My pain has significantly decreased and I am thrilled. Instead of barely functioning at around a seven on the pain scale everyday, I am now usually at about a four. This is a HUGE deal. My miracle. My saving grace. For five years I have been in AWFUL pain. For five years I haven’t gone ONE SECOND without debilitating pain. I still have pain, and it hurts, and it’s exhausting, and it’s annoying. But this I can handle. This I can deal with.

Mental Health Update – I am so happy to have found a community of people with chronic pain. Okay that sounded weird. I’m not happy they’re in pain, I’m just happy to have found people who understand. I don’t know how I never thought of this before, but there are other people going through the same thing! It’s been tremendously helpful to see people on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest who understand what it’s like to be in pain, all the time, for years. Because unless you’ve actually experienced it, there is just no way you can really understand. I am also planning on doing a separate post on this, but apparently me being so emotional is completely normal. My therapist says being on all of the medication was probably numbing my emotions and now I am feeling everything again. So it turns out that I actually am a blubbering baby who empathizes with fictional characters far too much for my liking.

Life Update – I am just much more active than I was! Like I mentioned before, I am now on my college’s student senate (which keeps me very busy as I am the Social Events Officer), am doing well in all of my classes, and am moving more which has helped me lose weight. I’m down four pant sizes! What feels the best is connecting with people again. I am making friends on the senate, have been talking again with old friends, and am out and about 200% more than I was three months ago. Although this can all be tiring, it has been nice to get a taste of the normal I could never seem to take a bite of in the past five years. I’ve even been on a few dates! Also, I have been accepted to CSUN’s Deaf Studies program in the fall! I’m so excited! So although this means I will be filling out many scholarship applications, it will be a big step in the right direction for me.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has been helping me through this difficult time in my life. Whether it is family, friends, or the chronic pain community: you’ve made a real difference in my life. THANK YOU!

4 comments on Jaw Surgery Recovery-13 Weeks Later

  1. James Hassell
    February 6, 2015 at 7:57 pm (3 years ago)

    I read it all the time jaelin. im so glad to see how much better you’re doing since we first met.

    Reply
    • jaelinpalmer
      February 7, 2015 at 10:22 am (3 years ago)

      Thank you so much for reading regularly! I really appreciate it James. I am thrilled to be doing so much better as well. A lot has changed for the both of us. 🙂

      Reply
      • Omega
        February 22, 2015 at 10:26 pm (3 years ago)

        Ouch those photos remind me of my two rounds (16 weeks total) of arch bars and wires. Having to wear wire cutters as a necklace. Ensure was my only food and I hated being so hungry, but smelling everyone else’s food warming and cooking. I now have Botox injections every 8-12 weeks for the CRPS pain and spasms in my jaws/neck. It sucks. My CRPS started in my shoulder, but spread full body. My jaw exploded with excessive bone growth. I have excessive extosis and tori that caused a very large shelf on my lower mandible then large knots on my upper right side of the jaw. My face is distorted and appears swollen even though it’s bone and gum. I truly wish you the best!!! Any questions about CRPS and dental feel free to ask.

        Reply
        • jaelinpalmer
          February 22, 2015 at 10:57 pm (3 years ago)

          I’m so sorry for everything you have gone through! That sounds absolutely awful! This is my second jaw surgery and I had so many problems after my first one 5 years ago. I had awful pain, was diagnosed with CRPS, my jaw took on a rare growth pattern that completely undid everything I had the first jaw surgery for, and just completely stopped living my life. I had my second surgery to take out all of the metal and try to fix everything that was wrong. I’m in a lot less pain than I was in, but my jaw is still broken and I’m still in pain.

          I can’t imagine having the bone growth. It’s so unfair that crap like this happens to good people. Are they going to do anything to try and fix your problems?

          I know what you mean about the food though. I was STARVING. I actually wrote another post just about that. I wish you all the luck in the world and I will definitely ask if I think of any questions. Thank you so much for reading!

          Reply

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